(Contributed by Gary Heagy, whose boys are in the LaGrande, Oregon, Blue Mountain Rangers.) (Edited by Michal King to change references from Matthew to generic references for other years of PBA)
Studying the designated book of the Bible for PBA:
- Pray before studying. Ask the Holy Spirit to be present and to teach you and open your mind, giving you wisdom and understanding. Ask God to help you remember what you learn.
- Study to find spiritual applications to your life today.
- Carefully read a chapter or two of the designated Bible book each day and memorize 3-4 important verses each week.
- Act out the stories and parables with family and friends.
- Listen to NKJV recordings of the designated Bible book if you have access to them and/or record yourself reading the NKJV and then listen to it.
- Play the “Read-along” game with your family or friends. Directions: Have everyone have their Bibles open to the first chapter of the designated portion of scripture. One person chooses a verse somewhere in the book and begins reading aloud. Everyone else tries to find where they’re reading and the first person continues to read until another person finds where they’re reading and jumps in and takes over reading. This person continues to read until a third person finds the place and takes over reading. It is announced to all where they were reading and then everyone goes back to the first chapter of the book. The person who first found the text being read gets to start the next round.
- Play “Who Said That?” game. Directions: Have one person read a quote that someone spoke in the designated scripture. Everyone else guesses the person who said it.
- Read Spirit of Prophecy passages that go along with the scripture passages being studied and also find and read other scriptures that perhaps tell the same story in a different way.
- Study the questions provided and write some of your own. Have someone read through your questions so you can answer them (or record someone reading the questions and then listen to them, answering the questions as you go). After you are fairly familiar with them, have the person mix up the questions, asking them out of order or reversing the questions.
- Study the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary about the book of the Bible being studied, especially the introduction to the book.
- Look up Bible Achievement websites on the internet about the designated scripture and use them to aid in practice and study.
Our study for Bible Achievement is not to just learn trivia and factual information. Most importantly, it is to implant the Word of God in our minds and hearts. Below are principles from the study of Matthew in 2008, but the principles apply to all scripture being studied, whether for PBA on in daily devotions. As you study your chapters, keep the following thoughts in mind.
- What is God saying to ME - personally? “The word of the living God is not merely written, but spoken. The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as though we could hear it with our ears. If we realized this, with what awe would we open God’s word and with what earnestness would we search its precepts! The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One.” 6T 393
- What picture of God does this give to me? We see a God who loves even the lowest sinners. He gave all to save all. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11 “And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’” Matthew 8:16-17 “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39
- How does this show God’s loving care for us? There are many Illustrations of God’s caring, through His loving the outcast, healing all, and living with the pain we have. We see the longing desire He has to save even those who reject Him: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Matthew 23:37
- What illustration of the plan of salvation does this show? The whole book is full of the plan of salvation through the life of Jesus Christ. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1: 21 “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28
- How can I apply this to my life? Jesus said many things that we can apply to our lives on a daily basis. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Matthew 26: 41, “And whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:23 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37 “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31
- Is there scripture I can memorize that will help me each day? There are many verses like this one that are good for us to apply to ourselves: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44